jeudi 14 juillet 2022

Kitchen Notes : Skren on Chaos


Avec leur deuxième album Chaos, Skren est un duo de Düsseldorf à suivre de très près sur la scène electro-indus agressive. Voici fournis avec moult détails le matériel et les méthodes de productions utilisés pour concocter cette impressionnante sortie. Fan de synthés hardware, c'est l'heure !

With Chaos, their second album, Skren is a Düsseldorf duo to track closely on the aggressive electro-industrial scene. Here are delivered with many intersting details hardware and production methods they used to cook this impressive release. Synth fans, it's time for diner !

Gears and software

What gears/software did you use for Chaos ?

For this album we used:

Synth: Virus TI, Sequential Pro3, Waldorf Iridium, Leipzig V3, Moog Grandmother, Waldorf Blofeld, Korg Monologue

Drums: Electron Analog Rytm, Jomox 999, DFAM

Sequencer: Octatrack, Toraiz Squid, Pro3(integrated), Iridium(integrated)
Guitar: Epiphone Les Paul Studio Goth, Charvel, Amp: Peavey 6505

Bass: Fender Amp: Darkglass

Various Effect Pedals Strymon, Animal Factory and more
Different Mics: Rhode, Sennheiser MD421, Shure

Software: Ableton, Soundtoys, Izotope, Brainworks

Your favorite gear(s)/software(s) ?

All Instruments have their special place in our setup. We use all instruments stand alone without any automation from the DAW all parameter changes are done by hand.

The Virus Ti is a very reliable piece of gear, we use it mostly for heavy rhythmic pattern or powerful lead scapes. For example the main sequence in „HYPERSCHLAF“, the chorus- and intro-sequence in TUNNEL and EXISTENT, the rhythmic pattern in the chorus parts of UNTERGANG and CHAOS, and the „pad" scapes in STAUB.
The Moog Grandmother mostly plays on top of the whole song foundation with weird syncope sequences playing with cutoff and LFO modulated pitch. It adds a lot of atmosphere and organic transitions to the songs.
We use it in TUNNEL for the main melody theme, in IM KOPF for the weird arp sequence on top, in the last experimental part of SUBSTANZ, as an atmospheric arp in UNTERGANG and it delivers the main melody layer in CHAOS that plays underneath.
Analog Solutions Leipzig V3 can do these massive basslines with a very organic feel and the possibility to make filter and resonance changes for a sonic development during a song.

The Pro3 has this wonderful build in 64step sequencer but in our setup sometimes it is very hard to tame its frequencies and to include them into the whole sound spectrum. We use the Pro3 on STAUB for the striking bridge part.
In TUNNEL it plays the rhythmic sequence during the instrumental parts of the song. And in SUBSTANZ it delivers the rhythmic one note Pattern that opens up in the „immer hungrig“ part.

The Iridium is a digital monster with endless possibilities of sculpting and shaping a sound. It takes its time to create a sound with it that fits into our already build up layers. It has a great stereo width and sounds very unique.
We used it for the solo melody on STAUB that repeats in the second half of the song. It also has its part in UNTERGANG during the mid section of the song with the rhythmically evolving buzz bass.
And we use it on CHAOS for some  sequences.

The Iridium is also a sequencer for the Blofeld via midi. Blofelds audio output goes straight into the audio input of the Iridium where everything from LFO modulation to granular synthesis is possible to happen.


Any evolution in your setup ?

The Moog DFAM is an evolution in our setup. We use it on every song. It has as massive low end that sometimes is hard to get under control, but it also has a wide range of different analog sounding bassdrums and it is possible to fine tune it very good. We add lots of distortion to it to get more bounce out of it and to add upper harmonics. You can hear it in the main rhythmic pattern and bassdrum on EXISTENT. It was an evolution in our setup to give the drums both a more organic modular kind of feel and the possibility to make drum transitions without programming too many different drum parts and fills.


Sound Design

Do you use/tweak presets  ? Do you design you own sound  ? On which synth/plugin in particular ?

Sometimes we build up sounds from scratch on Virus, Iridium, Pro 3 and of course on Leipzig and Grandmother. Sometimes we tweak presets on Pro3 and Virus. They deliver a good foundation to get an impression of where the song sonically could go. And by tweaking and redesigning we define more and more our personal direction of the sound.

Writing/composing method

What would be your main writing/composing method ? Do you start classical rythm/bassline then arrange around it ? Do you already have structure in mind ? Do you improvise, record sessions then select ? ...

We mostly start making music with lots of improvised sessions. Fragments of lyrics develop during these sessions through the atmosphere of the sound. When we have the feeling that everything is spit out we listen through and decide which ideas express our intention best. After that its all about rearranging and sculpting the sound and structure of each song in particular. The lyrics often have to be reduced to a minimum cause mostly in the beginning we have too many words. Especially for this album we thought about how to perform them live, while arranging the songs.

Producing/mixing method

Do you produce/mix in the box or do you use mainly external gears (effect/comp/eq...) ?

We do not use any software instruments. Everything is recorded from our hardware into Ableton and all songs are mixed and mastered there. During the mixing process lots of plugins are used to shape and define the single sounds and the overall sonic sphere. The vocal and guitar recording this time was a little bit different from previous recordings. During vocal recordings we both were together in our main studio room without using a vocal recording chamber, so we had a much better response on each other in terms of feeling the vibes of the vocals. The guitar layers this time were recorded with a mic directly from the cabinet wich was a new experience for us and added space to the guitar tone.

What is your most painful / enjoyable step in track production ? Sound design, arrangement, mixing, mastering ?

Creating and performing music is definitely the best part, while mixing is for us the hardest part in track production.
Creating sounds and atmosphere is something where we can rely on our Intuition and freely express ourselves. Thats the fun part. Mixing and mastering has lots of technical issues and we get painfully lost in frequencies sometimes.
Especially when mixing a whole album we have to find a flow that brings the different songs together to one piece of art.

Skren's tips

Breaks and PowerProteinBars
Martial Arts
push the boundaries
Gain Staging


Contact info 

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